HEART ARRHYTHMIA MANAGEMENT THROUGH JOURNALING?
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that dealing with AFIB or any palpitations is actually a type of heart arrhythmia management. People that have had some experience with AFIB know that the end of it is not always the end of it. The promise of a cardio version or even an ablation may not be the final word on your arrhythmia.
That is why journaling may be one of the best ways of heart arrhythmia management for you. And the best part? you can start it here and now!
You can actually improve your heart palpitations management by writing more about what your heart is doing, and what you are doing. On Newlifeoutlook I read a very interesting article written by Eric Patterson on how journaling can help you cope with AFIB. Thanks to his article I have yet again seen what the benefits of journaling are especially in heart arrhythmia management, and how I have applied it in my life.
WHAT CAN JOURNALING DO FOR YOUR HEART?
The two main benefits mentioned in his featured article are very important. He mentions that a journal (this can be your own website or blog) can help with data collection and stress reduction.
How can you actually use this?
My own experience with heart arrhythmia management is that I wrote down how I felt, what my pulse was, what I ate or drank and what I have done that day. I did not keep a daily journal, but I did keep it most of the “out off sinus” times.
With journaling, you will be able to tell your doctor what really happened, and stop “thinking” what happened and why. It is like your own personal heart arrhythmia management checklist.
Some of the most important things to jot down is the following:
HOW AND WHEN
How and when did your heart go out of rhythm? This is not just important for future correction of “trigger habits” but also of utmost importance to your doctor. This information will help him make the decision to cardiovert immediately or not.
The shorter the time span that your heart has been out of rhythm the greater the possibility that the doctor can give you a cardioversion.The chance of your heart “converting” back into normal sinus rhythm is then also bigger. The other variable that the doctor must take into account is the possibility of a blood clot, this I discussed in STROKE PREVENTION.
TYPE OF EXERSICE
In my case, this has been very important. Some exercises have been documented as not being very rhythm friendly to me. I play much less squash (racquet ball) now. During a normal squash came I noticed that my heartbeat went up to 190 beats per minute like a flash! With cycling, it took me a while to get it up to about 160 b/m and it did not go up much more than that. Running was sort of in the middle of these two sports.
The nature fo squash is just that you chase a ball, start and stop, and most of the times (well for me) I do no not think about what I’m doing to my heart, but just chase the ball.
Exercise is very important for any heart! Find an exercise that you enjoy, that is heart friendly.
SLEEP ….. zzzzzzzz
Track how many hours of sleep you have had the night before. The type of sleep that you had is also very important. Lack of sleep can have an influence on the heartbeat rate and rhythm of your heart.
Alcohol is a stimulant! The impact that alcohol has on every person will differ. Most people drink alcohol for the stimulant effect, but it is actually classified as a depressant. Note the type of alcohol that you drink and the volume
Note the type of alcohol that you drink and the volume, in your journal (if you can remember?!*%$). It is also important to know the alcohol content or percentage in each type of drink.
I drink light beer and red wine, but some afibbers have to stay away from alcohol altogether.
There is a big debate about coffee and how it can or might affect your afib. Do your own research with your journal at your side. You can even go so far as to mention how big the scoop on your teaspoon was.
Coffee is only one place where caffeine lives. When writing your journal, and having to take note of what contains caffeine you make be surprised. Look for the phrases “added caffeine” , “energy drink”, “psyched up” or “wired” and look at the amount of caffeine added.
If you are an afibber be careful of caffeine! It is the most commonly used drug in the world today, according to MNT (Medical News Today).
STATE OF MIND
Where you stressed out when your heart went out of rhythm, or was it just after a stressful period that your ticker went out. Stress can be an important factor in your heart arrhythmia management journey.
The benefit of a journal is that it can help paint a better picture of what your stress levels were during a specific time. This is not always that easy to understand if you just have to rely on vague memories.
Something I have found is that during a specific stressful time in my life, I really feel that pressure and can pin that down in a journal. Just thinking back and seeing a positive outcome, the stress does not seem that bad. You have the benefit of looking into your mind during that “stress time” if you put it down in words.
With the thoughtarrest technique, you must also write down your emotions and fears.
PEOPLE, PLACES AND SITUATIONS
Need I say anything about this? Writing down your PPS palpitation triggers may not be news to you, but it is good to get it out!
TIME OF DAY
My heart rhythm has never gone out while I was sleeping (and most of the times during the day). I know of other people that mostly go out of sinus (NSR) while they are sleeping.
This is important information that your doctor must know, to try and establish what your triggers are. That’s not all……
This is the “soft” side of heart arrhythmia management that is not so easy to explain or measure. You can see writing as your own stress release therapy. The stress reduction part of writing your journal is aimed at emotional and confidence building.
Some of the reasons I believe writing your journal will reduce your stress levels are:
THE BEST PART!
YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!
Your journal confirms that your doctor was right. Afib is not life threatening, but you have to take care of yourself and monitor what your heart is doing. Celebrate life by writing down how good it feels to be alive, even if you may still be in afib…..there is hope!
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
You can describe to yourself what really happened during an afib attack. Try to make sense of how things happened. Where you scared, relaxed agitated or indifferent about the whole AF thing.
WHAT SHOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
We all know that feeling. Man, I should not have done that! Sometimes you are guilty. Take stock of what and why you drank too much coffee, over trained or stressed too much. Identify what could have been a trigger and figure out what you are going to do differently.
GETTING IT OUT!!!!
This one is wonderful and liberating. Only afibbers know how it feels when the life gets sucked out of you, that kryptonite that takes away supermans power. Yes, that’s how it feels. It’s good to get it out and onto paper, sometimes scary. It also seems more real when it is on paper or on a computer screen.
It may help you to communicate your symptoms and feelings better to a family member or doctor. This is very important with heart arrhythmia management. We have all heard or used explanations like, flopping fish in my chest, racing heart, a hard heart beat, changing gears heart, it beats and then when the next beat must be there it’s not, skipping beats.
And that is just the heart! We have not even begun to describe the symptoms yet. In many cases, your doctor must make a call on how to treat you based on your description of your heartbeat and your symptoms. He may not have any hard and fast data to work from. Write your own STORY ON A BLOG
READY FOR TOMMOROW?
Plan for tomorrow by thinking how to cope with a possible skipped heartbeat, or symptoms that you experience from being in afib, or getting an afib attack. Try and take the shock and panic away from a sudden skipped beat.
TIME TO REFLECT
Be thankful that the thing you thought was a fatal heart attack, was a treatable thing like afib. Concentrate on all the positives and opportunities. Doctors may sometimes only give you the worst case scenario, it is their work to tell you what can go wrong.
Reflect on how it could have been worse.